When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

February 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

We like to take Matthew 19:26 out of context and apply it to whatever we may be facing that appears to be a no win situation. To be honest with you, nothing is impossible with God, so it is a good application. Still, we tend to overlook the original message.

This particular passage was directed at His disciples and it comes at the end of a discourse with a rich young man.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
(Matthew 19:23-25 (NIV))

In case you didn’t catch the implication, Jesus was saying that salvation was only possible through God. Think about that for a moment. Each of us have something that we cherish. Each of us have something that we long to hold on to, that we don’t want to surrender. For some, it is money. For others, it may be power. For others, it may be any number of things. For this particular young man, it was his wealth. Jesus told him that it was necessary to surrender what he held dear to himself and choose to follow Jesus. I think that the disciples caught on to what Jesus was saying because they asked, “Who then can be saved?” The disciples knew human nature. They knew how difficult it is to surrender what is closest to your heart. They knew that it was and is a matter of priorities. They had made the choice to trade everything for the ultimate treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Jesus let them know that a person cannot change their heart, but God can. God can take a cold and hardened heart and bring it back to life. God can take the “wealth” that a person holds dear and make it all look worthless in comparison to what He has to offer. If you think about this, Jesus also let us know that people are not in the business of saving each other. We don’t have the power or authority, but God does! How do you look at things, from your perspective or from God’s?

When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

November 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

When you go to God in prayer, do you petition Him out of despair or out of joy?

Think about that for a moment. The attitude that you have when you approach God is important. Imagine if you approached a friend for a favor with the following type of attitude. This attitude is self-defeating and humiliating. This attitude is not sure and confident of what you are asking. This attitude is one where you come across as not caring if what you ask gets done. This attitude is one in which what you ask does not come across as a priority. How do you think your friend will respond?

Your friend will pick up on the not so subtle hints that you are dropping. It will come across as if what you ask is of no consequence one way or the other, so if it is of no consequence one way or the other, your friend will take the easy way out. This means that your friend will not respond the way that you want.

I can almost hear your thoughts.

Why would anyone ask for a favor in such a way as to guarantee that it will not be answered?

It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how we approach God!

We cautiously and anxiously approach God and when we finally do pray and petition Him for something that He would probably gladly provide, we ask in such a way that it appears that we really don’t want what we ask for. Does it surprise you when God’s answer doesn’t match the request? Does it surprise you to find that you may really not want to be in His presence? If we are truly joyous about our relationship and our salvation, we should be filled with thanksgiving at all times, especially when we approach the Lord and seek to be in His presence. Being in His presence, going to the Lord in prayer, should be the ultimate experience in our relationship with Him. Too many of us treat this as the ultimate punishment.

Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you excited about the mystery?

November 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—
(1 Corinthians 15:51 (NIV))

Do you like a good mystery story?

A good mystery keeps you in suspense. It keeps you alert and on your toes. You think that you can anticipate the outcome, and to an extent you can. However, the meaning of the word “mystery” holds some further insights into what was being spoken of. The word “mystery” can refer to something that is not understood or beyond understanding. It can also imply something profound, inexplicable or secretive. From the usage in this passage, I believe that we can safely say that it is referring to a profound event that is beyond our understanding. For almost two thousand years people have speculated on what this passage means. For almost two thousand years people have been longing for the mystery to unfold.

Personally, I look forward to each day in hope that I will be honored with a glimpse of that mystery as God unfolds it before us. I know that one day the mystery will be unveiled to the Body of Christ in totality. Until that day, we must keep our focus on Jesus and go where He leads. If you truly stopped to think about your walk of faith since accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, it has been a mystery and will continue to be a mystery. Looking back, did you have any idea as to where He would lead you? Do you have any idea where He is leading you? The only thing that we, as members of the Body of Christ, can be sure of is that He is drawing us closer to Himself. We will face mysteries during our walk on this earth, and we will face the ultimate mystery when we will all be changed.

Are you excited about the mystery?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is in your heart?

October 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
(Deuteronomy 6:6 (NIV))

Human nature is a strange thing. We are uniquely created, yet we all suffer from the same maladies. Basically, we suffer from a desire to be the center of our own little worlds. We suffer from a desire to be obsessed with certain aspects that are out of our control. We suffer from a desire to possess things to the point that our desires possess us. All of these things are stumbling blocks to what God has called us to be simply because they become the central focus of our existence. When something takes on this role in our lives, it has our heart, it has our mind and it has our complete existence.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that God told us to place His commandments in our hearts. They are to be the central focus of our lives. When God’s commandments are the central focus of our lives, our lives are complete. They are built upon the solid foundation of God’s truth. Everything that we do will be based on achieving what is in our heart!

Have you ever known someone who coveted money? It was all that they thought about and every action that they ever took was directed at getting more money.

Now, take that example and replace the money with a desire to know God and His commandments and His truth. Everything that is done is done to further that desire.

Each of us have the ability to place a number of things in our hearts. There is always a priority. There is always an ultimate treasure.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

What is in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the cross the power of God or is it foolishness?

April 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself to be a fool?

I realize that is a loaded question, for I have never met anyone who considered themselves to be a fool. I don’t like to judge, but I have met some people who have left me wondering about their status. To be honest with you, I would probably bet that there are some people who question my status.

Still, I find it is much better to have people think that you are foolish than to have God think that you are foolish. God’s definition of being a fool is completely different from man’s.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
(Psalm 14:1 (NIV))

It only stands to reason that anything that comes from God would be considered foolish by man. The ultimate foolishness in the eyes of man is the message of redemption through Jesus and the cross. A fool says that there is no God. A fool thinks that they are good and do not need anyone to save them. Since they think that there is no God and that they are good, the idea that God sent His Son to die for them makes no sense to them at all. To these people, that is the ultimate foolishness and they think that anyone who believes otherwise is a fool.

To quote a very old saying, that is the pot calling the kettle black.

The fool thinks that their foolishness is wisdom and that the true wisdom of God is foolishness.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s gift to us is amazing . . . grace!

December 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Have you ever thought about this passage as a Christmas passage?

We have been given the ultimate gift through God’s love for us. When a gift is given, someone has to pay the price. It is free to the recipient, but the one who gives the gift takes it upon themselves to pay the full cost no matter what that cost may be.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

When was the last time that you took it upon yourself to give good gifts to several people? I am sure that it cost you a considerable amount, yet, you willingly paid the price so that you could freely give the gifts that you gave. Jesus willingly paid the cost needed to give grace and mercy to every person who has ever lived. That cost was more than we could bear just for our own sins, yet Jesus took all the sin of the world upon Himself for our sakes.

In this time of year that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we must never lose sight of the reason that Jesus was born. It is at this time of year that we see the innocence of a baby, but we must not forget about the power and authority of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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